Medical malpractice lawsuits are some of the most complex cases to process, coming with many questions, such as “who can I sue for medical malpractice?” or “how long do medical malpractice cases take?”
One of the most common topics is how much you can expect to be awarded for damages–the worth of medical malpractice settlements depends on the severity of each case, and it can be difficult to estimate the damages to be awarded as there are so many factors involved, both economic and non-economic. Some of the biggest malpractice cases award millions to the plaintiff, but those instances are very rare. On average, the payout of major permanent injury cases is $600,000, followed by significant permanent injury cases at $450,000, and wrongful death cases at $380,000.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
According to South Carolina laws, medical malpractice is defined as “doing that which the reasonably prudent health care provider or health care institution would not do, or not doing that which the reasonably prudent health care provider or health care institution would do in the same or similar circumstances.”
It can occur in many ways, with the most common examples being:
- Surgery errors
- Wrong medication prescriptions
- Ignored or misinterpreted laboratory results
- Poor aftercare
Medical malpractice can involve any medical professional—not just doctors—including nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, surgeons, hospitals, and clinics, among others.
The Average Settlement for Medical Malpractice Cases
The average medical malpractice settlement in the United States awards close to $400,000. Those who go to trial average around $1,000,000, while minor settlements may only pay for out-of-pocket expenses. Here’s a breakdown of average payouts, depending on the case:
- Minor cases: Up to $10,000
- Short-term disabilities: $10,000 to $30,000
- Cases that require corrective measures: $30,000 to $100,000
- Severe cases: $100,000 to $500,000
- Permanent injury: Over $1,000,000
Calculating Medical Malpractice Settlement Damages
The worth of a medical malpractice settlement is unique for each case. Generally, though, it’s calculated based on two things: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to past, present, and future loss of cash flow due to medical malpractice. These entail medical bills and expenses, including medication, rehabilitation, and the cost of assistive and adaptive devices, if needed.
Economic damages also take into account lost wages due to the victim’s inability to work. These include base pay, bonuses, commissions, benefits, pay raises, pension, and retirement fund contributions.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life of a medical malpractice victim. These are trickier to calculate; unlike economic damages, there’s no set methodology on how to value them. Instead, they’re often determined using a seriousness factor (also known as a “non-economic multiplier”) ranging from two to five, which is then multiplied by the total value of economic damages.
Know How Much Your Medical Malpractice Case Is Worth
If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice in Columbia, contact the experienced and knowledgeable lawyers at Strom Law to get help. The team can guide you through the complex process and help you determine how much your medical malpractice claim is worth—and how you can be awarded every cent that you deserve for your peace of mind.